Who could wield the knife? Scenarios for a Merkel exit

"It is clear to everyone that the chancellor is going into her last term."

By REUTERS
February 12, 2018 19:36
2 minute read.
Who could wield the knife? Scenarios for a Merkel exit

Christian Democratic Union CDU party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts after winning the German general election (Bundestagswahl) in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later



BERLIN - Angela Merkel is heading into her final term as German chancellor, a close ally conceded on Monday, intensifying the jockeying over the succession to Europe's most powerful leader.

"It is clear to everyone that the chancellor is going into a last term," European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Deutschlandfunk radio, adding that she would "skillfully set in motion the succession in these four years".



But with dissatisfaction growing in her conservative bloc at having to cede the coveted finance minister slot to secure the Social Democrats' (SPD) backing for a renewed "grand coalition", some think the succession could come sooner than expected.



While Oettinger and the 63-year-old chancellor herself lean towards a final Merkel term that lasts into the 2020s, others are straining for a swifter handover.



Following is a list of groups and individuals who could be instrumental in precipitating the end of Merkel's 12-year-old leadership.




THE BUSINESS WING



The fabled "Mittelstand" of medium-sized exporters is the backbone not just of Germany's economy but also of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian CSU sister party. Lawmakers representing Mittelstand interests have long been among her critics.



Parliamentary Mittelstand Circle (PKM) leader Christian von Stetten, 47, was a loud opponent of Merkel's policies on bailing out Greece during the euro zone crisis and of her decision to open Germany's borders to over a million migrants in 2015.



Carsten Linnemann, head of the Mittelstand Association of the CDU/CSU (MIT), went as far as to abstain in the party leadership's vote on endorsing the new grand coalition.



But other powerful interests, including the women's, social policy and senior citizens' wings of the parties are all strong backers of Merkel.




THE YOUTH WING



Jens Spahn, the 37-year-old arch-conservative state secretary in the finance ministry, has long been seen as one of the conservatives' rising stars and has long been rumored to be eyeing the succession.



"The chancellor should have the courage to make ministers of critical people as well," his ally Paul Ziemiak, head of the conservative youth organization, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, urging Merkel to find senior jobs for the next generation.



Daniel Guenther, 44, the more liberal - and more popular - premier of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, fresh from a shock victory in regional elections last year, is seen as a less threatening possible successor.




OLD RIVALS



Friedrich Merz, 62, and Wolfgang Bosbach, 65, who once vied with Merkel for the party leadership, are freer than most to criticize the chancellor, but their age means none could offer the kind of generational handover many are pushing for. The same goes for Roland Koch, 59, former premier of the state of Hessen. All three are regarded as more uncompromisingly conservative than Merkel.




THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS



Despite the SPD's dismal poll showing - an INSA poll has them on 16.5 percent, barely ahead of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) - the party holds Merkel's future in its hands.

If the more radical members follow their hearts and vote against party leadership to reject a new grand coalition, fresh elections, a minority government, or renewed negotiations with smaller parties on a three-way coalition could ensue. In all those scenarios, the price could be Merkel's departure.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The moon from 550 kilometers away, as taken by Beresheet, April 7th, 2019
July 19, 2019
The kid in me wants another shot at the moon

By ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL / JTA

Cookie Settings